The Rights Of Those Who Practice Polygamy Essay

The Rights Of Those Who Practice Polygamy Essay

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The Rights of Those Who Practice Polygamy
















I. INTRODUCTION
The unblemished notion of what the American family should be has been deeply rooted in our culture and it was not until recently that those views have been challenged. Same-Sex marriage is a topic of interest and has been one for the past several years. With many victories under the proponent’s belt it seems that the United Sates is heading toward national recognition. Same-Sex marriage is paving the way for other non-traditional families to gain footing and rights in the American legal system. One example of this is plural marriage families such as polygamous families, where a husband has more than one wife or polyandry families where a wife has more than one husband.
Recently there have been several websites, interest groups, and television mini-series examining the merits of polygamy. For example, an attorney, Elizabeth Joseph, wrote an opinion piece in the New York Times describing her own polygamous marriage. She claims that polygamy offers women a realistic answer for “successfully juggling career, motherhood, and marriage.” Home Box Office (HBO) in 2007 produced a television series entitled Big Love, that sympathetically depicts a fictional middle-class polygamist family, consisting of a husband and his three wives, who live in Salt Lake City. With the modern approach towards acceptance of broader family diversity the arguments against polygamous marriages are no longer effective, thus the practice should no longer be illegal. Section II of this article will go through the historical development and background of polygamy. Section III will discuss the constitutionality of polygamy and the arguments that support its legalization which are: fir...


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...tional attacks.”
In 1878 the court upheld the criminalization of polygamy against the argument that it violated the First Amendment by punishing religious conduct. The court in that case reasoned that there was a difference between belief and act. The First Amendment allowed for a person to believe as they wished but they could not act on the beliefs if that action would be “in violation of social duties or subversive of good order.” The court concluded that polygamy was plainly offensive to good order:
Polygamy has always been odious among the northern and western nations of Europe, and, until the establishment of the Mormon Church, was almost exclusively a feature of the Life of Asiatic and African people. At common law, the second marriage was always void, and from the earliest history of England polygamy has been treated as an offense against society.

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